Hey there, Internets! Long time no see (as it were)!
If anyone’s been wondering what happened to the I Read the Internets column, the short version is that I decided that I really don’t want to file papers for the rest of my life, and am going through a certification program so that I can become a high school English teacher (scary, I know). So I’ve been kinda distracted and had less time in general for internets reading, and also have had way less time for writing about what I’ve read.
But I am still reading the internets, if in a more limited way than before, and I thought that it’d be nice to share the interesting things I come across with you all again, even if I can’t do it weekly or as comprehensively as I’ve done in the past.
So! Here are some internets, for your reading pleasure:
First up, Naamen (who I’ve got a bit of a brain crush on lately) kickstarted a really interesting discussion over at Feminist SF – The Blog! about “The Fantasy of Rape: The Use of Rape as a Catalyst on Female Protagonists in SF/F:”
…what I want to talk about is that odd sub-genre (though I hesitate to name it a genre) within SF/F which are the Rape-and-Revenge stories (more prevalent in Fantasy but it’s in Sci-Fi as well). For a lot of us who were searching out female protagonists in our youth these were some of the first stories we ran across.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, but yeah. A lot of the very first fantasy books featuring female leads that I read as a YA-age reader had the “Rape-and-Revenge” trope. At the time, I was so freaking thrilled to get to read a story about a woman that I don’t think I even noticed. But looking back… Ew.
On a rather different women-in-fiction note, Bright_Lilim wrote a post in her LiveJournal titled “Why I read Lois McMaster Bujold,” talking about what a difference it can make to a female reader to read stories written by someone who isn’t focused solely on male characters’ needs and desires. I’ve only read one book by Bujold, and I liked it so well that I’ve been meaning to pick up more ever since. Guess I’d better get on that!
And in books-with-pictures reading, Avalon’s Willow wrote a post at Seeking Avalon about a manga that she’s really enjoying that intrigued me. She talks about how all of the female characters are blonde, but they don’t look alike, which is a marked departure from what’s going on in many mainstream American comics right now. She also says:
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that for me manga goes weird in the other direction. I can tell the girls apart, but the men? They often look the same – pretty, with either short or long hair; spiky short hair, long swishy long hair. And male body types seem to fall into; broad shouldered, long legged male, young lanky twinky male, muscular patow! bulging! male and the rounded face barely into their teens proto-child.
Which I found particularly interesting, since I happened to pick up a book about drawing in manga style this week (I’m terrible at drawing, but have always wanted to do it, so I’m attracted magnet-and-iron-filing-style to “how to draw ___” books) where the author stated very matter-of-factly that while it’s important for male characters in manga to have individual and often rugged faces, female characters should all have the same bland sort of prettiness, and that hair and clothes are enough for the reader to differentiate them, so it’s okay if their faces are identical. Oh, except that evil female characters can sometimes be ugly – but not usually!
Obviously, not every artist is following that school of thought. But the “how to draw ___” books for American comics and manga comics seem to be depressingly similar.
For those who like to listen to stories as much as reading them, the long-awaited PodCastle, “The Fantasy Fiction Podcast,” is now active (casting? I have no idea what the verb would be there). I haven’t had a chance to give it a listen yet, but I’ve seen some good reports.
In other internets, K. Tempest Bradford had an interesting column up at Fantasy Magazine recently about powertripping wikiers who make it hard for anyone interested in bringing more attention to, for example, race in science fiction to do so on a mainstream “anyone can edit” site like Wikipedia.
For those of you who need a gaming internets fix, the April issue of Cerise is live, with a grab-bag of content on a variety of topics. And for the writers among you, submissions over there are, as ever, open.
And now, something amusing for the close! Well, amusing to me, anyway. If you’re a fan of awesomely bad writing, out-of-control metaphors and romance (complete with euphemistically explicit sex scenes) – in SPACE! – you should check out the April Fools “prank” that Karen Healey and I pulled this year. Our author personas are fictional, but the novelettes are quite real, and you can get the download version for free if you’re keen on that sort of thing.
That’s the extent of the internets I have for you at this time, but I hope to be back soon with some more. Probably not every week, but some internets are better than no internets, right?